The Shure SM7B is one of the most popular microphones on the market for good reason. This microphone is an industry leader and is great for many recording purposes. However, there are some unanswered questions that many have about this mic. One of the most asked questions is, “Is the SM7B a condenser mic?”
The Shure SM7B is not a condenser mic. The SM7B is a large-diaphragm cardioid dynamic microphone. This mic is widely used for vocal performances and spoken words. It is a go-to studio microphone for most broadcasters, despite it not being a condenser mic, as it performs better than most condensers in a lot of situations.
The appearance of the SM7B dynamic microphone is the main reason why many are confused about whether or not it is a condenser mic. The SM7B looks like a condenser mic, but it is, in fact, a dynamic microphone. Let us take a better look at the SM7B, how it compares to other mics, and what makes it such a good mic.
What Type of Microphone is the Shure SM7B?
The Shure SM7B is one of the leading microphones in the industry, especially among broadcaster, radio hosts, and podcasters. This microphone has redefined what microphones of its type are capable of and opened up new possibilities.
The SM7B is seen in many videos and live broadcasts, which means that many people have seen this mic being used. The way the SM7B looks is the reason why many people find themselves asking if it is a condenser or a dynamic microphone.
Despite appearances, the Shure SM7B is a dynamic microphone, not a condenser mic. The way this mic looks is not meant to be confused with a condenser, but it is rather a result of its intended uses.
If you want to learn all the differences between dynamic and condenser mics, check out this article on the subject.
The SM7B is rigged to an active mount that supports it from above, which is not the usual setup for a dynamic microphone, even in the studio.
Most other dynamic microphones use a floor stand and a shock mount to keep the mic stable and prevent vibrations, rather than an overhead stand and an active mount which is usually seen with condenser mics.
While the Shure SM7B is not a condenser mic, it performs as well or better than condenser mics in the same price bracket. The audio quality and clarity that this microphone produces are highly impressive for a dynamic microphone.
Dynamic microphones are much easier to use and far more user-friendly than condenser mics, as well as being more reliable and less delicate. A dynamic microphone that is able to perform at this level is ideal for many studios who need a tough, reliable mic that is also easy to use and does not require phantom power.
The SM7B is a great mic, not just compared to other dynamic microphones, but it is a great microphone, period.
How Does The Sm7B Compare To Condenser Mics?
Most dynamic microphones are not recommended for studio vocal recordings because they are not very sensitive where it matters and too sensitive where they shouldn’t be.
For example, some dynamic mics struggle to pick up the subtleties in a vocal due to their more rudimentary design.
Dynamic mics are good for live performances as they are not easily damaged, and they are unidirectional, which means that they do not easily pick up sounds from behind the mic, which is great for a live setting.
However, the SM7B is not a normal dynamic microphone. The SM7B is in a class of its own, as it is a dynamic microphone that is ideal for use in a studio environment, even over some condenser microphones.
This mic is quiet, with a very low sound floor and a very flat frequency response. This is not usual for dynamic mics. The SM7B also has active noise canceling technology built into that is specifically designed to cancel out the hum from electronic devices such as computers and other recording equipment.
The cardioid polar pattern of the SM7B is ideal for recording purposes. The polar pattern of a mic describes the field of sensitivity of the mic and where it is most sensitive to receiving sound.
A cardioid polar pattern means that the mic is unidirectional and receives the vast majority of its sound input directly in front of the mic. This polar pattern makes it very unlikely that the SM7B will pick up any noise from behind or around the mic.
Indirectly comparing the SM7B dynamic microphone to condenser mics in the same price bracket, the SM7B has a better audio output, a cleaner signal, a quieter noise floor, better noise canceling, and a more crisp and clear audio output signal.
The SM7B is easier to use than condenser mics and does not require phantom power to run. It is also much more tough and less likely to be damaged during normal use or even by being dropped or knocked than condenser mics are.
The only area where the SM7B is overshadowed by every condenser mic is its gain level. Condenser mics have a much more powerful output level which makes them ideal for recording because of the phantom power that they receive.
The fact that the SM7B is a dynamic mic means that it does not have a very high gain output. This means that it has a relatively low volume audio output, which can be frustrating.
The Sm7B is superior to many condenser mics in the same class. It is ideal for studio use, especially in less-than-ideal or noisy conditions that condenser mics can not handle.
What Sets The SM7B Apart From Other Dynamic Microphones?
The Shure SM7B is unique as far as dynamic microphones go. There are other dynamic microphones that are used for recording purposes, and there are plenty of large-diaphragm dynamic microphones that have a very low-level noise response.
These attributes are not what sets the SM7B apart from other dynamic mics. The unique features of the SM7B that set it apart from other dynamic mics are its air suspension shock isolation, its pop filters, and the advanced electromagnetic shielding that this mic is equipped with.
The air suspension shock isolation takes the place of a conventional shock mount that is used for most studio-level microphones and allows for an incredibly stable mount for the mic that effectively acts against vibrations that could be picked up by the dynamic coil in the mic.
The advanced electromagnetic shieling that is installed in the SM7B allows it to effectively cancel out all hum background noise generated by computers and other recording equipment. There are almost no other dynamic microphones equipped with technology.
The SM7B stands out from other dynamic mics as a perfect studio microphone that can compete with mics way above its weight class.
What is The Shure SM7B Good For?
The nature of the SM7B makes it the ideal microphone for use in a home studio setting. This mic is highly favored by radio hosts, podcasters, broadcasters, voice-over artists, and those who record spoken words. I often recommend the SM7B for home studios over even high end condenser mics because home studios are less likely to have good acoustic treatment. The SM7B is less likely to bit up room echo and other unwanted noises in an untreated room than a more sensitive condenser mic, whilst still giving you a high quality recording.
The flat frequency response of the SM7B and the quiet noise floor makes it ideal for recording speaking. The mic produces very clear audio quality, and the pop filters are very effective for removing the plosives and sibilance from the voice.
The SM7B is also a great microphone for recording vocals because of the wide dynamic range that the mic is capable of.
The Shure SM7B is ideal for most studio uses but not great for live performances due to its mounting system.
The Shure SM7B is not a condenser microphone, but it is a large-diaphragm dynamic microphone.
The physical design of the SM7B may make it look like a condenser mic, but it is an industry-leading dynamic microphone that is ideal for studio purposes.
This mic is unlike most dynamic microphones and has a unique mounting system that cancels out vibrations very well. The SM7B has built-in technology that cancels out hum from electronic equipment to help with audio clarity in recordings.
The SM7B is a leading dynamic microphone, and even though it is expensive for a dynamic mic, it is well worth the quality, versatility, and durability of this microphone.
The SM7B is not a condenser microphone, but it is the one dynamic mic that can easily compete with any studio condenser microphone and is much easier to use and far more versatile!